Intercultural differences in frustration intolerance

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1 Available online at Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 33 (2012) PSIWORLD 2011 Intercultural differences in frustration intolerance Floare Chipea a, Diana Negruti a, Simona Trip a, * a University of Oradea,University 1, Oradea, Romania Abstract Frustration intolerance (FI) is a central REBT concept and it was defined as inability to tolerate reality that is different from our demands. The present study aims to support the idea that Roma population differs from Romanian population regarding frustration tolerance and to reveal that FI could be a factor that prevents Roma to value education and marriage s stability. The participants (55 Roma and 40 Romanians) completed SGABS and LFT scale. The Roma subjects recorded higher FI than Romanians. The educated Roma expressed higher tolerance to school, work and future. The Roma with several partners showed higher FI to school Published by Elsevier Ltd. B.V. Selection and and/or peer-review peer-review under responsibility under responsibility of PSIWORLD of PSIWORLD2011 Open access under CC BY-NC-ND license. Keywords: frustration intolrance, Roma population, education 1. Introduction Roma are the largest minority in Central and Eastern Europe, and despite this they are still the poorest and the most socially marginalized group. The rate of illiteracy in the Roma population is estimated at 44% for men and 59% for women (World Bank, 2003). In Romania, the percentage of Roma children which had abandoned school varied from 2% (age 10) to 7% (ages 7 to 10), and the percentage of children never registered for school ranged between 14% and 16% (Zamfir & Marian, 2002). The authors cited the parents using expressions and beliefs that oppose education: it s useless, I didn t finish school either, and I did well for myself. The lower education level places the Roma on a less favorable position in the job market; the rates of poverty, illiteracy and unemployment are much higher in the Roma population, compared to the same rates in other ethnic groups in the country. Social factors as social exclusion and racial discrimination are frequently used to explain the problems of the Roma population such as violent behaviors, alcohol addiction, prostitution, risk sexual behavior etc. (Preda & Duminica, * Corresponding author. Tel.: ; fax: address: Published by Elsevier B.V. Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of PSIWORLD2011 Open access under CC BY-NC-ND license. doi: /j.sbspro

2 584 Floare Chipea et al. / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 33 (2012) , Onica-Chipea, 2007). No studies were focused on the psychological factors, especially on frustration intolerance as vulnerability factor of Roma population. Frustration intolerance (FI) or low frustration tolerance (LFT) refers to the inability to tolerate reality when it differs from our expectations expressed as demands rather preferences for a comfortable and ideal life. Harrington (2006) described four forms of FI: Emotional intolerance reflected the belief that feelings and thoughts associated with emotional distress were intolerable. The discomfort intolerance involved demands that life should be easy and comfortable, free of problems. The entitlement refers to frustration regarding other people that should indulge and not frustrate our desires. The achievement reflected perfectionism beliefs. Discomfort and emotional intolerance are associated with passivity and avoidance, entitlement and achievement frustration with confrontation and action (Harington, 2011). Rodman et al. (2009), Stankovic & Vukosavljevic- Gvozden (2011) revealed the association between FI and psychological problems as depression, self-control disorders, addictive behaviors, borderline, anger and antisocial personality disorders. Ellis (1994) pointed out that FI underlies emotional and behavioral problems involving lack of self-control (addictive behaviors, procrastination, violent behavior, and selfharm). Because such psychological issues are found with a higher incidence in the Roma population, the current study propose that there will be differences between the Roma and non-roma participants regarding their FI; that the Roma participants that didn t go to school will have a higher level of FI compared to those which have graduated up to and more than four classes; that there are significant differences in FI between Roma with a single marital partner and those with several partners. 2. Method 2.1. Participants A number of 95 participants were involved, 55 of Roma ethnicity (41 women and 14 men) and 44 Romanians (25 women and 15 men). The age varied between years for Roma (m = 31 years), and years for Romanian participants (m = 35 years). None of the participants in the Roma sample had an education level above the secondary one. All participants volunteered for this study Materials The Shortened General Attitude and Belief Scale (SGABS, Linder et al. 1999) is a 26-items measure assessing irrational thinking in accordance with rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT). One subscale measures rational thinking and the other six examine irrational beliefs: Self-Downing, Need for Achievement, Need for Approval, Need for Comfort, Demand for Fairness, and Other-Downing. Participants indicate the extent of their agreement with the item statement on a 5-point scale. High scores for the irrational subscales indicate irrational thinking and high scores for the rationality subscale indicate rational thinking. The scale has good psychometric properties for Romanian population (David, 2007). The Low Frustration Tolerance Scale (LFTS) (Trip & Negruti, 2011) is a 27- item measure, each one with a yes or no answer. The measure has 3 scales: LFT to school, LFT to future and LFT to work. The items were proposed based on preliminary interviews done with Roma participants. There have been significant correlations with the SGABS scale for Romanian population, but not for Roma, these having difficulties to understand SGBAS items. The split-half coefficients show a good fidelity of the scale.

3 Floare Chipea et al. / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 33 (2012) Procedure The two questionnaires were filled in by all participants; the researches read aloud the items for the Roma participants with a very low level of formal education. 3. Results and discussions The results supported the existence of significant differences regarding irrationality and the level of FI between those of Roma ethnicity and Romanians (Table 1). Table1. Comparison between Roma and non-roma populations for Irrationality and LFT Dimension Sample M S.D t df Rationality Roma * 84 non-roma Self-Downing Roma ** 84 non-roma Need for achievement Roma ** 84 non-roma Need for approval Roma ** 84 non-roma Need for comfort Roma ** 84 non-roma Demand for Fairness Roma ** 84 non-roma Other downing Roma ** 84 non-roma Total Irrationality Roma ** 84 non-roma LFT regarding School Roma ** 84 non-roma LFT regarding Future consequences Roma ** 84 non-roma LFT regarding Work Roma ** 83 non-roma Note * p<0.05, ** p<0.1 The averages of the Roma population are higher for both scale, SGABS and LFTS. They tend to have a higher level of self and others downing. The scale only measures negative evaluations, therefore based on the mistakes they or other make, they state about themselves or others that they are worthless, bad people. These cognitions could have been developed in the stigmatization and decimation events that they have experienced in the past. The discriminative evaluations became an internal cognition that they passed on from one generation to another. SGABS has two subscales that measure FI: the need for comfort and the demand for fairness. For both subscales, the Roma participants had higher ratings. This

4 586 Floare Chipea et al. / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 33 (2012) correlates with the results obtained from LFTS. The Roma have a demand that in life one should do only what he wants and only what is easy to do; life should be comfortable; short term benefits are followed even if they harm long term benefits; it is easier and more pleasant to stay at home then go to school or find a job, both options which have long term benefits. They report that they do things without taking into consideration their future consequences and without planning for the future. For both dimensions of SGABS - Need for Achievement and Need for Approval, Roma participants had higher averages when compared to the non-roma population. Even if they have higher intolerance to discomfort, when it comes to the tasks they view as important, the Roma demand that they are always successful (achievement). They seek more the approval of others, they want to be liked and respected by the others. The presence of irrational believes doesn t negate the existence of rational ones. This could explain why Roma participants recorded high scores for rationality. However it could also be the case that these items were hard to understand by them, having a more difficult phrasing or that their answers were socially desirable. Next we will overview the comparisons that were done in the Roma sample between those with no education, those who graduated up to four classes and those who graduated more than four classes. For the SGABS subscales no significant differences were obtained. In the case of the LFTS we identified significant differences in all the three subscales: LFT to School (F(2,43)=11,30, p=.000), LFT to Future (F(2,43)=3,15, p=.053) and LFT to Work (F (2,43)=6,21, p=.004). The Roma with no education recorded the highest means. Having less LFT beliefs allows this population to persist in education related tasks and to reach a higher level of schooling; a higher level of education maintains a low level of FI. A strong internalization of FI makes participants leave school early. Parents with a high level of these cognitions will refuse to send their kids to school, and thus transmit them their LFT based thinking system. Table 2 Descriptive statistics for LFT, with regard to the education level Dimension Education level N M S.D. LFT School no education up to 4 classes more than 4 classes LFT Future consequences no education up to 4 classes more than 4 classes LFT Work no education up to 4 classes more than 4 classes The comparisons between Roma who had a single marital partner and those who had several started from the idea that participants in the second group live more in the moment, changing partners without pondering the consequences regarding sex life, raising children and family related responsibilities (FI). The only significant differences are for the dimensions Rationality (t=2.11, p=.040) and LFT to school (t=2.44, p=.019). Despite our expectations, Roma with several partners are those who record a higher level of rationality. These results may be influenced by a desirable way of responding, but also because a suitable partner experience led to a rational beliefs internalizing process over time. At the same time the trouble in understanding the items could cause a random answer of the subjects involved. For LFTS, Roma with several partners recorded the highest averages in all three dimensions. One reason for Roma leaving school is that they marry at a very young age, before the self reaches maturity, which increases

5 Floare Chipea et al. / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 33 (2012) the probability of changing partners in time. Also, this habit maintains the LFT to School beliefs with respect to guiding children towards education; the parents doesn t know the beneficial experience of school and changing partners can distract them from focusing on the child s educational future. 4. Conclusions This study regards frustration intolerance as a cognitive vulnerability factor for different problems that Roma population is dealing with. The results sustain that compared to non-roma, Roma group interalize FI to school, work and future. A possible contribution that these results could provide in the application work it would be in school psychologist activity that can develop prevention programs that increase frustration tolerance in Roma students. Towards the study limits, we can mention the small number of subjects involved in some categories, also that the desirability of respondent s answers could not be controlled. Roma was predominantly rural area, not being involved Roma living in the cities. As a future direction we propose the improvement of LFTS as a tool for measuring FI. It could be considered stories, folklore, material passed from generations to generation to find those sources type that are responsible for maintaining FI beliefs. Future studies could be designed to investigate the relationship between FI and various emotional and pragmatic problems of Roma population. Acknowledgements This article was supported by PN II grant 688, contract 962 / awarded to Dr. Simona Trip. References World Bank (2003). National Anti-Poverty and Social Inclusion Plan. Bucharest: Commission on National Poverty and Social Inclusion. Ellis, A. (1994). Reason and Emotion in Psychotherapy. New York: A Birch Lane Press Book. David, D. (Ed.) (2007). Clinical evaluation system. Cluj Napoca: RTS. Harington, N. (2011). Frustration Intolerance: Thearapy Issues and Strategies. Journal of Rational - Emotive & Cognitive - Behavior Therapy, 29, Harrington, N. (2006). Frustration Intolerance Beliefs: Their Relationship with Depression, Anxiety, and Anger, in a Clinical Population. Cognitive Therapy Research, Linder, H. et al. (1999). A Brief Assessment of Irrational Thinking: The Shortened General Attitude and Belief Scale. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 23, Onica-Chipea, L. (2007). Aspecte socio-juridice privind protectia drepturilor copilului. Bucuresti: EdituraExpert. Preda, M., & Duminica, G. (2003). Accesul Rromilor pe Piata Muncii. Bucuresti: ECA. Rodman, S.et al. (2009). Distress Tolerance and Rational - Emotive Behavior Therapy: A New Role for Behavioral Analogue Tasks. Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive - Behavior Therapy, 27, Stankovic, S., & Vukosavljevic- Gvozden, T. (2011). The Relationship of a Measure of Frustration Intolerance with Emotional Dysfunction in a Student Sample. Journal of Rational - Emotive & Cognitive - Behavior Therapy, 29, Trip, S., & Negruti, D. (2011). Low-Frustration Tolerance Scale. Unpublished Document. Zamfir, C., & Marian, P. (2002). Rromii în Romania. Bucuresti: Editura Expert.